Summary: Life would be so much easier if we would only pray.
THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER
Text: Joshua 9:1-27
1. Illustration: The roof of the church hall of a little Swiss church, at the turn of the 20th century, was falling down. So the members of the church held regular prayer meetings in the hall after the service to pray for funds to repair the roof .
There was an old man, known to be very tight with his money, who used to attend and sit near the back of the hall. He could sneak out just before the collection plate came round at the end of the prayer meeting.
One Sunday, he was held up on his way to the prayer meeting in the Hall by the vicar and could only find a seat at the front of the church.
During the prayer meeting, a piece of the roof fell and hit him on the head. Feeling spoke to by the Lord, he stood up and said "Lord, I’ll give £1000"
A voice at the back of the church was heard to say " Hit him again, Lord"!
2. Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, the third thing necessary to a minister. Pray, then, my dear brother; pray, pray, pray. (Edward Payson, Preacher and Prayer, E.M. Bounds, 1907, p. 32.)
3. Prayer is to be the highest priority of all Christians.
a. Higher than fellowship
b. Higher than worship
c. Higher than even Scripture
4. Prayer should be the highest priority because of:
a. Perpetual pests
b. Pessimistic Perceptions
c. Passive Problems
5. Read Joshua 9:1-27
Proposition: Life would be so much easier if we would only pray.
Transition: Prayer should be the highest priority because of...
I. Perpetual Pests (1-2)
A. Combined Their Armies
1. Word was spreading quickly about what the Lord was doing in the region through Joshua and the Israelites, and some of the nations decided they would not go down without a fight.
2. In verse one we discover that "all the kings west of the Jordan River heard about what had happened."
a. The region referred to here is, literally, “beyond the Jordan”, referring to regions west of the Jordan.
b. This phrase is found thirteen times in Joshua, referring both to the region east of the Jordan (what is often called “Transjordan," and the region west of the Jordan, what is sometimes called “Cisjordan” (—New American Commentary)
3. These kings, who encompassed the entire region of Canaan from the sea to the mountains, decided that it was in their best interest to ban together.
4. In verse 2, which says, "These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites," we find some very interesting things.
a. They knew that separately they would meet the same fate as Jericho and Ai, but they thought fighting "as one," they could defeat Joshua and his army.
b. However, their thinking is foolish, because in reality, when they joined forces against the Israelites, they were really fighting against God. This was a fight they could not win.
c. Ps. 2:1-2 Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one.
5. Fighting against God is like:
a. Spitting into the wind
b. Running into a brick wall
c. Even Gamaliel understood this in Acts 5:39, when he said "But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
d. Anyone who fight against the Lord fights in vain.
B. Spiritual Warfare
1. Illustration: True story. A Christian leader -- we’ll call him Steve --as traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something. Guessing the man was a fellow-believer, Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. "Looks to me like you’re memorizing something," he said. "No, actually I was praying," the man said. Steve introduced himself. "I believe in prayer too," he said. "Well, I have a specific assignment," said the man with the goatee. "What’s that?" Steve asked. "I’m praying for the downfall of Christian pastors."
2. Prayer needs to be a priority in our lives because we are in a battle, a spiritual battle, and the stakes are very high.
3. If we are not careful, or in better words, if we are not prayerful, we can find ourselves on the wrong side of that battle.
4. What do you mean by that Pastor? If we are not prayerful about some of our activities we can actually be fighting against God.